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OS Watch: Nokia Melts Down on the Low End

Also: RIM's smartphone for the 1%; Microsoft mulls its own tablet; social networking gossip; Apple's new OS fragments the iPhone market

Sarah Thomas

June 15, 2012

3 Min Read
OS Watch: Nokia Melts Down on the Low End

Having sold off its high-end, luxury smartphone business, Vertu, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) says it's refocusing on the low-end. But, it's scrapping the operating system it was reportedly designing to target this market.

Sources tell AllThingsD that Nokia is ceasing work on the Linux-based OS, Meltemi, to instead focus on its S40 line of Asha phones. The thing is, however, Nokia never confirmed it was ever working on the super low-cost OS, which was rumored last year. Asked about the OS on the call, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said:

We’ve never publicly used the term that you mentioned, so we don’t have any specific comments on a specific engineering effort, although it is the case that we have canceled certain specific engineering projects as part of our changes.

On the same call, announcing Nokia's massive restructuring plans, Elop admitted the handset maker was feeling the squeeze from low-end Android devices, but it plans to develop low-cost, full touch-screen Windows Phone devices to compete. It's reliance on the Windows Phone OS has many thinking an acquisition by Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) may be in the cards for the struggling company. (See Nokia Poll: Microsoft Merger Expected, Light Reading Poll: What Will Nokia Be in 2014?, Nokia Cuts 10,000 Jobs, Restructures and Analyst: Nokia Faces Low-End Threat.)

In other mobile OS news:

  • RIM's $1,890 Porshe in your pocket: Another struggling handset maker, BlackBerry , is taking the opposite approach of Nokia and going after the extremely high end. The BlackBerry maker's $1,890 Porsche smartphone went on sale Thursday. RIM CEO Thorston Heins and the head of the Porsche Design Group launched the phone with an over-the-top party in Toronto last night. So far, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Piers Morgan and Kanye West are all apparently toting RIM's statement piece. The company has been struggling across the board, but does have a good hunk of cash on hand -- or at least it did until last night. (See Report: RIM to Cut 2,000 More Jobs and RIM to Sell the BlackBerry Farm?)

  • Microsoft's tablet ambitions: In light of Nokia's troubles, partner Microsoft may be looking to branch out on its own with a new tablet. The company has teased a "big announcement" coming Monday at a press conference it's holding, and The Wrap suggests the news will be the launch of its first, self-branded Windows 8 tablet to compete with Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iPad. At the least, the company is expected to show off some partner tablets featuring the latest version of its OS.

  • Social networking rumors abound: In the social rumors sphere this week, Samsung Corp. may be working to build its own Facebook competitor for Internet-connected devices, and Microsoft may buy enterprise-focused site Yammer, Bloomberg says. Microsoft would reportedly use the site's software to target its corporate customers with better collaboration tools.

  • Apple has its fragmentation woes too: Apple unveiled its latest iOS 6 on Monday, and the update has some complaining of Android-style fragmentation. iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 users won't get access to all of the 200 new features of the latest version of iOS. For example, voice navigation on Apple's new maps platform will only work on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the latest iPad. The iPhone 3GS won't support FaceTime over 3G either. Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed out in his keynote that nearly all iPhone users are running the latest OS version, compared to the 7 percent on Android's latest Ice Cream Sandwich, but he could get a taste of the frag backlash Google experiences this fall. (See Apple iOS 6 Shakes Up Mobile Communications and Battle of the 3-D Mobile Maps.)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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